Monday, December 20, 2010

SABTANG: 03 – The Humble Town of Chavayan


The road to Chavayan was longer but not at all boring because of the view. Look right and you see an overdose of green care of the mountains and the cliffs. Look left and you see many ripples of white forming on the surface of an ocean so blue. Halfway through the journey, we passed by Sleeping Beauty. Maybe I am just visually impaired but I really cannot make out that image of the mountain. There are many humps that could qualify as Sleeping Beauty’s boobs but I just could not figure out which. I just took a picture and ogled at it for awhile but still, nada


I gave up. What I noticed though was a queer looking structure on one of the mountain ranges. The tour guide told me that it was the Idjang. Sorry, what? Apparently that is their local term for a fortress built by their ancestors when there were still warring tribes inhabiting the island. I asked if we could go. He said that there really is no path to get there.


The motorbike was zooming along the unpaved road when the tourist guide pointed something out and muttered something made incomprehensible by the strong wind. I looked back and saw a bright green hose by the dirt path, except that it was not really a hose but a dead snake. So I had to ask him to stop so I could take a picture and a video of the creature. He said it had been killed but I am not ruling the possibility of post-breakup suicide. Its bright green skin matched with pale yellow underneath gave me the creeps. Fine, you are one beautiful snake, but imagining you alive and hissing at me is plain freaky. 


So after snapping a photo, we immediately left. A few minutes more and we reached that arch overlooking a splendid combination of hills and beach. He told me that this spot was a common stopover to Chavayan and I guess that claim is well justified given the jaw dropping beauty of the place. So again we stopped and I strolled down the hills. The place reminded me of Naidi Hills except that you substitute the cow dung with goat poop. Breeze and view are awesome, regardless.


After a string of spectacular views we finally reached a stretch of road by the cliffs narrower than those in Batan. From a distance you see a community nestled by a cliff overlooking the ocean. Mother Earth has provided Chavayan with natural barriers so strategically placed that it would make any rival tribe bitch on Twitter out of pure envy. Who needs a fortress when you have a wall of cliffs and that vast ocean guarding your community? Now you realize how this town has preserved their way of life for such a long period of time. If it was not for the road built leading to this town, it would be really difficult to reach.


The area is small and shaped like a fish according to the cute map that greets you as you enter the town. You could roam around and cover the whole vicinity in 15 minutes or less. Savidug is considerably larger but Chavayan has this distinct aura and magical appeal that you just could not place. The Chavayan Theater and the church, with their matching pink-blue-white motif, stand out amidst the rows of stone houses. Exiting the town going south, there is an open space where I saw some teenagers and kids playing basketball. Head farther south and there is no more concrete to step on, just sand. The waves sing a sweet melody as they hit the many colossal rocks near the shore. The place is pure bliss.


I stayed for around half an hour, sat in the Nipa Hut because it drizzled. As the tour guide chatted with his fellow Ivatans, I roamed around the town. There were kids playing badminton. There was a man knocking from door to door, announcing his presence by uttering Dius! the Ivatan equivalent of Tao Po! He was delivering what seemed to be water bills. Before leaving, we stopped by the Sabtang Weavers Association to buy a miniature vakul as souvenir. A vakul is a headdress weaved and worn by Ivatan women. By buying one from them you are actually helping them and their association.
SABTANG: 03 - The Humble Town of Chavayan

2 creature/s gave a damn:

Lifeisacelebration said...

Just been to Sabtang but missed Chavayan. Took so much time in Savidug and Tinian Cliff+ lunch in Nakabuang. I could have missed lunch instead. Now I feel I missed something big time! :-(

ihcahieh said...

@Lifeisacelebration - I don't want to make you any sadder but yeah, I have to agree that you missed something, hehe. Chavayan is far but definitely worth the trip, even if it is just for a one-hour stop. Amazing to discover such a far-flung, quaint little community nestled by cliffs and protected by the sea.

There's always next time. :)

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